Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Secret Agent #39

TITLE: My Murder Year
GENRE: YA Contemporary

The new jeans have that fresh-out-of-the-bag smell. I breathe it deeply before unfolding them and laying them across my bed. Oh, yeah. They’re perfect. I step into them, squirming to get the stiff fabric up over my thighs. I have to lie down on the bed to get the zipper closed, but once it is, I can’t help but love how the dark denim hugs my body. Why have I never had skinny jeans before? A glance at the clock tells me I need to get a wriggle on, so I throw my favorite T-shirt on over the jeans and allow myself one last admiring glance at my reflection. Damn, I look hot.

The familiar scent of coffee and toast greets me when I enter the kitchen. Teddy sits in his usual spot at the table, inhaling what looks, from the milk puddled around, like his third bowl of cereal. My stomach flips. I don’t know how anyone eats so much in the morning.

“Good morning,” Mom says, turning away from the blender and the bilious green liquid churning inside it. “Would you like some super-shake?”

I glance across at Mama K who takes advantage of Mom’s attention on me to dump her glass of swamp-water into the sink. She catches my eye and gives an almost imperceptible shake of her head. Her glossy black hair flies around her face for a second before settling back into her short, blunt bob.


  1. You may be starting too early in your story. She gets dressed, she looks good, we meet some of her family. No conflict, or hints as to what is to come. Not that we need everything to happen right off the bat, but we want to invest in the MC in some way. Try beginning further in the story and see what happens. Mama K is the best part, there is something about her sneaky her drink into the drain that promises that she will be a great character!

  2. I literally cocked my head to the side at the jeans fresh out of the bag. Do jeans come in bags? The first impression we're getting of this character is that she loves clothes. Is that important for us to know? Is that going to be a defining trait in this story? As far as having a first line that entices, this one isn't it. Undoubtedly you have something more compelling lurking, however.
    Omit "over the jeans." It sounds like she put her shirt on top of her pants. Just that she put her favorite T-shirt on is all we need. We know where shirts go. :)
    Love the last paragraph!

  3. You're obviously a great storyteller and have a knack for detail and illustrating a scene! However, I think you're getting a bit too caught up in narrating every little thing the main character does or sees. You can narrow this scene down a good paragraph or two and still deliver the same message. I also would like some conflict as well. Is there a reason she is so obsessed with how the jeans fit her? Who is Teddy? Is this a child or messy big brother? Mama K appears to have more personality than anyone. :-) That one gesture says a lot about her character.

  4. I agree with the above comments, but I do like the writing style.

  5. A couple things:
    -"A glance at the clock" -> this sounds like a glance is speaking to her which is weird. You do this again with, "The familiar scent of coffee and toast greets me". Why is a smell greeting her?
    -"I look hot" makes me dislike your character.
    -How is an "imperceptible" shake of her head making her hair fly around? Even a vigorous nod wouldn't do that.

    Good luck!

  6. I LOVE THIS VOICE! Your writing is fantastic. A few small things—I feel that more often, teens just use their phones for time/alarms and rarely have clocks in their room. Unless it’s important to the story, or maybe just who this character is, I’d say it feels dated. The fourth paragraph has quite a few adjectives that left me stumbling—I see some room for simplification there. In general, I often feel that when stories start with the “getting ready” scene they may be starting too early—but it is really hard to tell without seeing more. I must admit, I’m intrigued and so much has to do with his wonderful voice you’ve established. There is some tension knowing she is late, but not knowing what for—I’m interested and would certainly read on.

  7. I don't know if your first paragraph is supposed to make the MC feel shallow and unlikeable...but I don't want to spend time in this person's head right now lol.

  8. First, I love the title. While the opening paragraph is great and I kind of like her character already, she is kind of shallow and if that's what you are going for it works awesome. I understand the need for a confident teen girl! You put a lot of solid details in this and it feels overly dense.